Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Kryptonite Part III

This is a place holder until I write this entry...
But yea - with the right iron pills, my health (and energy levels) are back to normal and I'm a finalist for a position with Columbia University.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Kryptonite Part II

That morning as I walked east down 32nd street, I considered, once again, I'm going to an important appointment alone.  I'm use to doing life alone - not that it gets any better or easier with time, but by 35, you accept aloneness as a way of life.

A block away from my destination I see a guy I know from church walking toward me.  We're both surprised and delighted to see each other, and stop to exchange hugs and hellos.

He explains to me he lives in the neighborhood and is on his way to work, and I explain to him I'm on my way to a doctor's appointment.

"Are you okay?"  He inquired, expressing sincere concern. 

"That's what I'm going to find out.  I'm just making sure I'm good.  But hey, I have to get going so I'm not late, but good running into you." 

"You too.  Hope everything is okay.  I'll be praying." 


I didn't know the guy well enough to say, "Hi.  I'm on my way to the gynecologist.  I'm terrified.  I have a lump in my left breast, and it could be cancerous."  Regardless, it was comforting to run into a familiar face, and I was reminded that even when I stand alone as a single woman, my church family stands with me.

* The good news is, I don't have cancer AND with the right iron pills my body will thank me by easing up on the headaches and fatigue.  I simply wasn't getting the oxygen I needed when I switched the brand of iron pills I was taking.

I'm hopeful once more that I'm back in the city to stay!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Kryptonite Part I

Two Wednesdays ago...

I collapsed to the floor, having no strength to stand.  Earlier in the week I started pleading with God to provide open subway seats as I waited at each station for my subway train.  But this train had no open seats, and as I leaned back on a pole, I bumped into a man who snapped at me.

I mumbled, “Sorry sir.  I don't feel well.”  I tried again, hoping to find something to lean against in my packed subway car.  I needed some sort of support for the journey.  Holding on to the metal bar overhead wouldn’t be enough.  But I had no luck, and no strength to stand, so instead of fighting gravity, I slid to the floor.  As I did, a few tears slid down my face.

Recently my progress forward seemed thwarted by the return of frequent fatigue and an increase in headaches.  Granted, I no longer feel near death, like I did in June and July.  Still, my body, on many days, feels so weak that I wonder if maybe I should have taken my doctor’s advice to choose a different city to live – an easier city – where I could hop in my car to get somewhere rather than struggle to walk up and down the subway steps, depleting the small reserve of energy in my system to get to where ever it is I need to go next. 

And who knew laundry could be so exhausting – carrying my clothes several blocks away is too heavy for me even though the muscles in my arms are decently defined.  I recently picked up a smaller bottle of detergent.  Hopefully down-sizing my laundry soap will help some.  

The light went out in my bedroom the other day, and as it did, I think my spirit did too.  There’s still a dim light remaining (1 of 2), but the ceilings are high, and even if I a track down a ladder from somewhere, anywhere, I know I wouldn’t have enough strength to carry it back to our place – on the third floor.  Ah, more stairs.  I’ve never hated stairs in my life as much as I do now.

“Ma’am, would you like to sit here?”  A man, not too far away from me offered me his subway seat.

Still looking down, I shook my head no and mumbled, “That’s okay.”   By then I didn’t really care how dirty and disgusting the floor was beneath me.  Nor did I care that I was creating a scene. 

In New York, emotion is on display – all the time – all around you.  Passing by arguments, tears, and screaming is not uncommon in this city.  I didn’t think I’d become one of those individuals who is less than poised in public, but I also didn’t think I’d be one of those women who would find herself worrying about breast cancer - with less than sufficient health insurance.

It was the phone call I received just before I got on the train that broke me.  The secretary lady informed me it would be 1 to 2 weeks before I would receive the results as to whether or not the lump in my left breast is cancerous and whether or not I'd have to return to Michigan for treatment.
To be continued...

* I learned this evening the cause for the return of my fatigue and headaches is due to the change in the type of iron pills I've been taking to treat my iron deficiency.  As it turns out, titanium dioxide - a substance used in cosmetics, sunscreens, and toothpastes - is now being mainstreamed in iron pill production to give them a pretty white look.  Brands such as Nature Made, are adding so much Titanium Dioxide to the mix, that many women - like me - aren't able to absorb the iron in the pill because of it.  For the latter part of September and much of October, Nature Made iron pills prevented me from getting the oxygen I needed for my body to function properly.

Thankfully my mom - in Michigan - found the type of iron pills I use to be on and is mailing them to me this week.  :)

January 15, 2015 Update: In Fall of 2014 I tested positive for malaria, plasmodium vivax. The malaria parasite wreaks havoc on red blood cells, causing anemia (i.e. iron issues) and debilitating fatigue.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Harlem, not the Shake

For 14 months straight I've lived a nomadic existence, laying my head down to sleep in over 50 different locations.  Even at my parents' lake house in Michigan, I never really unpacked.  Instead I stayed as a guest in the guest bedroom and lived out of suitcases, never really knowing how long my stay would be as I continued in my job search and bounced between Michigan, New York, and Los Angeles.

FINALLY, as of October 1, 2013, I have a place I can call my home, with no plans to leave, leave any time soon.  On Tuesday I moved into a three bedroom apartment in Harlem with three other girls from my church.  My room is itty bitty, and I'm sleeping on air mattress until I can find a job, but it is my room, my space, my home, and for that I am grateful.  Maslow would be pleased that one of my most basic needs is finally being filled.

Granted, I returned home to a crime scene my second night in Harlem and it's not quite as glamorous as SoHo (where I stayed last month), but it's not too far from the great outdoors of Central Park and Columbia University, the place I hope to work.  But yes, on Wednesday night a cop knocked on our apartment door to inquire if me or my roommates had witnessed the shooting.  (Shhhh, don't tell my parents; I wouldn't want them to be concerned.)  We hadn't witnessed anything except the aftermath of the incident - cops and detectives swarming the streets, trying to find answers to the murder mystery.